French hostages praise rescue 'from hell' in Burkina Faso

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South Korea had confirmed the identity of the South Korean hostage, a woman in her 40s, its foreign ministry said.

The three will fly to a military airport outside the French capital on Saturday evening where they will be welcomed by President Emmanuel Macron.

The rescued hostages included two French citizens, Patrick Picque and Laurent Lassimouillas, who had disappeared on May 1 while on safari in the tiny neighbouring West African nation of Benin.

"We were not aware of their presence. the American will be repatriated separately", Florence Parly told a news conference.

A South Korean woman, who was rescued by the French military after almost a month of captivity in the western African country of Burkina Faso, remains in good health, Seoul's foreign ministry said Sunday.

"He bows with emotion and solemnity before the sacrifice of our two soldiers who gave their lives to save those of our citizens", the statement added.

President Emmanuel Macron's office said a USA woman and a South Korean woman were also freed in the covert operation.

The French government identified the two soldiers killed as Cedric de Pierrepont and Alain Bertoncello.

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The French government had warned its citizens against traveling to parts of Benin near the Burkina Faso border where the park is located because of the risk of kidnapping. He described the kidnappers as "terrorists". The region has seen an increase in violence by militants linked to al-Qaida and Islamic State in recent years.

The disfigured body of their Beninese tour guide was found shortly after their disappearance.

Two of the hostages present in France Saturday were identified as Frenchmen Laurent Lassimouillas and Patrick Picque, while the third was an unidentified South Korean woman.

In the early hours of Friday morning, French commanders launched an operation to rescue two French tourists held captive in the region of Burkina Faso.

The raid on the kidnappers was led by the elite Hubert commando unit of the French naval special forces, which was deployed to the Sahel at the end of March.

Parly also thanked local authorities and the "precious support of our American allies in conducting this operation".

A total of 24 French soldiers from the Barkhane force have died in the region since 2013 when France intervened in Mali to drive back jihadist groups who had taken control of the north of the country.

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